1. In 2013, we face combined crises: that of global capitalism, and that of the Left. Then organize the slogan: ‘The Crisis of World Capitalism and the Left Alternative’
- Is the slogan of the 6th Marx Communnale old-fashioned? No. ‘The crisis of world capitalism and the Left alternative’ points towards the essence of today’s problems and suggests key ways for the Left to intervene.
- The global economic crisis began in 2007 with the American sub-prime mortgage crisis. However, during the last five years, fourth and fifth Marx Communnale conferences, in 2009 and 2011, did not address the global economic crisis overall. Despite this delay, the sixth conference, in 2013, needs to cover the topic in earnest, because it appears that the global crisis will only intensify through the year.
- Korean progressives and the Left have addressed ‘the Left alternative’ many times. This includes a wide range of measures, from promoting free school meals and free education to creating alternative approaches to the welfare state, financial regulation and economic democracy. However, Keynesian and reformist approaches have dominated these alternative discourses so far.
- Of course, the Left has tried to seek alternatives such as autonomism, ecological politics and feminism, despite the value of these efforts, the task of analysing the crisis of world capitalism and the Marxist transition remain.
- The domination of ‘capitalist realism’ stems from the inability of the Left to analyse the crisis of world capitalism and use that analysis to build a Left alternative. Therefore, the sixth Marx Communale will combine Marxist theoretical efforts and political imagination to overcome ‘the crisis of the Left’ and contribute to the renewal of anti-capitalist, radical left.
2. How the slogan of ‘the crisis of world capitalism and the Left alternative’ demonstrates the Marxian theses: ‘world capitalism-world market crisis-world revolution’
- Marxism can be summed up by the concept ‘socialism from below’, which encapsulates the linked theses of world capitalism, world market crisis and world revolution. Although Marx first presented these ideas in the Communist Manifesto of 1848, they were concretized in the Grundrisse of 1857-1858. He planned his critique of political economy through six volumes: capital, landed property, wage labor, the state, foreign trade and world market crisis. However, he was only able to study the first half of that plan.
- While the critique of political economy of the plan’s first half appears in Capital Volume One, the theories of the second half refer to world market crisis. However, mainstream Marxists after Marx, such as theorists of Stalinist state monopoly, imperialism and so on, have treated the second half as a matter of stage theory and phenomenal analysis rather than theoretical development. Therefore, an analysis of capitalism, crisis and socialism in one country has replaced a truly global approach. Therefore, the slogan ‘the crisis of world capitalism and the Left alternative’ is not old-fashioned; rather, it is a novel and necessary way to approach Marxism.
- World capitalism faces multifaceted crises, from the 2007-2009 global economic crisis and the Eurozone financial crisis, to worldwide popular protests such as Occupy Wall Street, Greek general strikes and the Syrian revolution. These show the contemporary relevance of the theses on global capitalism, market crisis and revolution which have been suppressed in Marxist.
- By reclaiming Marx as a theorist of ‘the global’, particularly based on the second half of Marx’s plan, we can analyse the contradictions and crises of global age and create a Marxist alternative. This is the urgent task of the Sixth Marx Communale.
3. Our slogan and the ‘Marx Renaissance’
- The recent interest in Marxism has even led the press to say something about the ‘Marx Renaissance.’
- After the collapse of Soviet Russia and the Eastern bloc in 1989-91, there was a resurgence in triumphalist ideologies like ‘there is no alternative’ (TINA), market fundamentalism and globalization. Yet confidence in capitalism has plummeted to earth, leading to: deepening social polarization; the increase in precarious labour, unemployed youths and the urban poor; aggravated climate change, ecological crisis and the food crisis, and the spread of anxiety about the future.
- In this context, the reemerging ‘Marx Renaissance’ has a solid theoretical and material basis. This is different from other renewals. For example, the ‘neo-Marxism’ of 1968 was a superstructural and cultural phenomenon objecting to the alienation of industrial society in the apex of the postwar ‘golden age.’ The discourse of a ‘return of Marx’ emerged shortly after the alternative globalization movement that appeared in Seattle in 1999, during the final stage of the neoliberal bubble and boom. It had its corollary in the Korean ‘Marxism Spring’ (actually, Stalinism) of 1987-91.
- Of course, a genuine ‘Marx Renaissance’ hasn't yet come about. Despite the unparalleled global upsurge in mass struggles against a capitalism in crisis, there is a continuing crisis of the Left: those who wish to convert this crisis into an anticapitalist world.
- By providing a forum to interact with other theorists and activists, the 2013 sixth Marx Communale will contribute to a ‘Marx Renaissance’ and, through it, to create radical Left politics.
4. Organization and public invitations for Marx Communale
- We will invite for presentation everyone who agrees or wants to engage with our slogan, ‘the crisis of world capitalism and the Left alternative’.
- Although there is no limit or necessary qualifications, all presentations must be approved by the Executive Committee.
- The sixth Marx Communale will be organized in three general meetings related to our themes: first, ‘the crisis of world capitalism: a Marxist analysis of the crisis; second, the critique of capitalism and patriarchy and alternative globalization: red-green-purple(female)-radical democracy solidarity and the Left alternative; third, Korean society and strategies for popularizing anti-capitalism, focused on Korean conditions. There will also be 30 open topics planned by independent groups.
- The three general meetings will organize presentations and debates by the groups planning them.
- We will ask for 30 groups to let us know about session themes, presenters and debaters by October 30, 2012.
- We will also invite presentations, in various media, by individuals or groups whose works are correlated with the conference themes. We invite them to submit the title of papers and abstracts by October 30, 2012. The Executive Committee will review proposals for group and individual presentations.
- The following are possible session themes. For example: